February 25, 2014 by Baltimore Slumlord Watch
In response to your letter in the Sun, I’d like to remind you that many Republicans inside and outside of Baltimore City, including me, have offered this City a great deal of time, money, and energy — along with solutions for raising tax revenue. Yet, because we carry the stigma of the Red R — our ideas and willingness to help create a better city are usually rebuffed at every turn.
Here are three ideas you may want to reconsider. Just for a moment, pretend I’m a a Democrat — maybe it will make things more palatable for you:
1. Increase the tax on vacant structures, in order to offset the increased demand on city services. Fires, code enforcement, and court time (including the salaries of our hard-working Housing attorneys) all cost money. Money that taxpayers shouldn’t be paying — the owners of these blighted structures should be paying. Raise it enough, perhaps following the DC model, and the property taxes of residents could be decreased in a way that would make Baltimore City competitive with other jurisdictions.
2. Speaking of fires…How about we fully-fund our fire department so prospective residents won’t have to worry about their new homes burning to the ground shortly after purchase?
3. Start investing in residents and communities, not just the harbor. I’m trying to revive Councilman Cole’s “Outer Harbor Initiative” with affordable housing for middle-income folks. Care to join in? It would reduce the number of vacants, and draw in middle-income taxpayers — two things you sorely need right now.
Thanks, and as always, I’m available any time to chat.
PS: Here are some other random ideas I’ve had over the years. Feel free to borrow any, I try to be a giver.